A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006.

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Entry from August 08, 2012
“You can’t wring your hands and roll up your sleeves at the same time”

"You can’t wring your hands and roll up your sleeves at the same time” means that one can’t despair ("wring your hands") and take action ("roll up your sleeves") both at the same time. In 1999. this was said to be a central Texas saying; in 2008, this was said to be a south Texas saying. The saying has been cited in print since at least 1991 and is of unknown origin.

“You can’t wring your hands and roll up your sleeves at the same time” has been most frequently credited since at least 1996 to Pat Schroeder, who represented Colorado in the United States House of Representatives from 1973–1997. American author and motivational speaker Zig Ziglar wrote in 1974 that “when you’re frustrated you can either wring your hands and lose what you have or roll up your sleeves and get what you want.”


Google Books
Biscuits, Fleas, and Pump Handles
By Zig Ziglar
Dallas, TX: Update
1974
Pg. 145:
As I point out in another section when you’re frustrated you can either wring your hands and lose what you have or roll up your sleeves and get what you want.

Seattle (WA) Times
Tuesday, August 6, 1991 - Page updated at 12:00 AM
Lumbering Towns Now Take Light Steps—Communities, Loggers Move Slowly Toward Uncertain Future Without Mainstay Industry
By Bill Dietrich
DARRINGTON, Snohomish County - If there is a fitting symbol of the change convulsing Washington’s timber towns, it might be this community’s first espresso machine at its first 24-hour convenience store.
(...)
Yet most communities seem to be shifting from despair to determination. “You can’t wring your hands and roll up your sleeves at the same time,” Michele Brown of the state Department of Community Development tells community groups.

Google Books
Strategies for Rural Competitiveness:
Policy options for state governments

By Thomas W. Bonnett
Washington, DC: Council of Governors’ Policy Advisors
1993
Pg. 133:
“The New Localism: You Can’t Wring Your Hands and Roll Up Your Sleeves at the Same Time.” William Schweke and Graham S. Toft, Entrepreneurial Economy Review (Winter 1991): 3-8, Corporation for Enterprise Development, 777 North Capitol, Washington, D.C. 20002; 202.745.3950.

Google Books
Get Out of Your Own Way:
Overcoming self-defeating behavior

By Mark Goulston and Philip Goldberg
New York, NY: Berkley Pub. Group
1996
Pg. 117:
“You can’t wring your hands and roll up your sleeves at the same time.” —PAT SCHROEDER

21 April 1998, Denver (CO) Post, “Ex-Rep. Schroeder turns another page; ‘Recovering politician’ writes on women’s role in politics” by Ellipt Zaret, pg. A2:
“As we end this century, millennium and everything else, I worry about the status of our civil society and the status of our democracy,” Schroeder said. “You can either wring your hands or roll up your shirt sleeves.”

13 October 1999, Associated Press, “Army leader sees possible end of tanks as we know them”:
“But I’ve spent a little time in central Texas where they have a saying: ‘You can’t wring your hands and roll up your sleeves at the same time.’”

30 September 2000, Salt Lake Tribune (Salt Lake City, UT), “Schroeder: Too Few Women Elected” by Glen Warchol, pg. C2:
The best advice Schroeder offered to women candidates fighting stereotypes is: “Don’t wring your hands about it. Roll up your sleeves and go find an answer.”

Google Books
The Secrets of Life Power
By Barry B. Gallagher
Mequon, WI: Nightengale Press
2008
Pg. 285:
There is a saying in South Texas that expresses it best: “You can’t wring your hands and roll up your sleeves at the same time.”

Google Books
The Colossal Reader:
Super-size stories & irrestistable information

Edited by Lou Weber
Lincolnwood, IL: West Side Publishing
2008
Pg. 426:
You can’t wring your hands and roll up your sleeves at the same time. —Pat Schroeder

McCombs School of Business (University of Texas at Austin)
Students and Career Services Stay Focused, Jobs Picture Brightens
Posted by: Cory Leahy | November 9, 2010 - 11:55am
It’s been said you can’t wring your hands and roll up your sleeves at the same time. When the jobs picture looked the bleakest over the past year, both our students and our career services team chose to get very focused and smart.

Posted by Barry Popik
Texas (Lone Star State Dictionary) • (1) Comments • Wednesday, August 08, 2012 • Permalink


Yes I really agree with the cliche.

Posted by Catherine Newton  on  08/30  at  12:00 AM

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